TheFitExpo’s Best: Back Workout

Running out of ideas for back day? We’ve got you covered. We’re hitting all the target areas in your back: Outer/upper lats, middle back, lower lats, and lower back.  Get ready, this comprehensive back day will be a killer.   We are going to start at the top and work our way down –

 

We’re starting this out with wide grip pull-ups to really wake those outer lats up.  If you need, feel free to hop on the assisted pull-up machine for an extra boost.  For more of a challenge, increase your time under tension on these… ouch.

Now that your back is already feeling the burn, we’re going to move onto lower lats with reverse lat pulldowns. Flip around on that lat pulldown machine and remember to pinch your shoulder blades together at the bottom of the movement for better contact.

As if your lats weren’t hurting enough, we’re going to stack on some kayak rows.  You can perform these standing with a straight bar on the cable machine – if you need form help for these, seek out an online tutorial on either YouTube or a trustworthy bodybuilding website.  The burn will be real on these – it’s near impossible to not feel contact with these.

Sorry about your lats! But we are on to the next target area, so look alive! We are hitting middle back with some bent-over dumbbell rows – up to you if you want to perform these with a knee on the bench or standing and using a weight rack (or something of that sort) for support.  Whatever’s in your comfort zone works.

Making our way down – we’re finally hitting lower back. Don’t think that because this is the last part of the workout we are winding down. We’re not.  First we’re performing back extensions.  You can do these unweighted or holding a weight, but they’re great to get a stretch in the lower back before… Stiff leg deadlifts.  If you’re not exhausted by this point, we’re not sure what to tell you.  We’re tired just thinking about it.  No need to hit a PR on these – unless you’re really feeling it – but what you’re aiming for is a neutral spine and that killer stretch.  We’re here to provide you a back workout, not a back injury, so brace your core and maintain form above all else.  If you’re new to this movement, start light.

Well, that’s all that we have for you. Just kidding. We’re throwing in an optional burnout to kill your back just a little bit more.  Perform 1 to 3 sets of plate rows till failure. Now you’re done.

 

For the first six exercises, your reps will vary based on your goals.  For building mass, opt for anything in the 6 to 12 range.  If you go for lower reps, you should be pushing challenging weights.  For muscle toning, opt for the 15 to 20 range to really exhaust those muscles.

Thanks for reading & happy back day from us to you!

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No Equipment HIIT Workout

No Equipment HIIT Workout

If you don’t know already, HIIT stands for high intensity interval training.  In practice, it consists of intervals of anaerobic exercise followed by a rest/recovery period, making it a great way to get your heart rate up fast and burn some calories.  A lot of the movements mimic weighted exercises, though HIIT movements are often performed as body weight exercises, meaning they make for great toning as well! This HIIT workout is perfect for the park, at home, the gym – anywhere you’d like!

 

Method:

This workout is a circuit. Perform each exercise for 30 to 40 seconds (depending on your level of fitness and cardiovascular endurance).  Rest 20 to 30 seconds (depending on how long your exercise interval was).  Each exercise plus its rest period should take a minute for this workout, so plan accordingly!

The key is to maintain intensity during your exercise period, so try to perform each exercise as fast as possible with proper form.

·       Alternating jumping lunges – Begin in lunge position; when you jump you’ll be alternating the lunging leg and landing back into a lunge position These are killer.

·       Jumping jacks – You know this one.

·       Push-ups (or knee push-ups for beginners) — Again, you know this one.

·       Bicycle crunches — Laying on your back, put your hands behind your head, perform a cycling motion with your feet and bring your opposite elbow to your opposite knee in a crunching motion. Keep alternating.

·       Prisoner squats — Stand with your feet slightly past shoulder width apart with your toes angled outward, place your hands behind your head with your elbows back. Perform a squat (neutral spine, to parallel) and come back up.  For more of a challenge, don’t lock your knees when you come back up to maintain constant tension (ow).

·       High Knees — Speed here is key.

This 6-minute circuit can be repeated as many times as you’d like, but 2 to 4 times makes for a solid cardio session. Between circuits, rest one minute (or don’t rest at all if that’s what you’re about).

Happy sweating!

Back to Gainz:

I know, I know, it’s not as much fun as chest or biceps. However, a serious back day is essential for anyone serious about building a complete physique. Not only is your back one of the most aesthetically important muscle groups, it’s also important to train back for overall health and posture. In fact, we have to do nearly twice the work on our back as we do on our front just to counteract the effects of all of the forward movements we do every day. Between driving, working on a computer, texting, and other movements we do every day, we are constantly rounded forwards. And that’s not even counting chest and shoulder workouts! Today we will set out to make that right; focusing on correcting your posture, strengthening your back, and building a better V-taper with lots of high-volume lat work. And with bulking season fast-approaching, it’s time to pack on some size! Without any further delay, let’s jump into this brutal back workout.

Exercises

Wide-grip Pull-ups

We will begin with a classic back exercise, the pull-up. Wide-grip pull-ups allow you to work on on the uppermost part of the lat, really helping to accentuate the V-taper. This will make help to make your back and shoulders look wider while making your waist look smaller. Everyone has done pull-ups at one point or another, but the rep scheme here is what makes this exercise really unique. We are going to do 100 straight reps in as few sets as possible. Once form starts to suffer, it’s time to break until the next set. As soon as you feel semi-recovered, jump back in. It’s brutal but effective. The exercise is also scalable to your fitness level. While advanced lifters may be able to get 100 reps, some may struggle to do a single pull-up. This workout will work for all fitness levels! Simply choose your fitness level below, and follow the prescribed rep scheme.

Ultra-advanced

100 Reps Weighted

Advanced

100 Reps

Intermediate

50-75 Reps

Beginner

100 Lat Pulldowns with 50-100 lbs less than your bodyweight, OR 100 assisted Pull-ups

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Chest Day is the Best Day! A Killer Chest Workout From TheFitExpo

Whether it be Monday (a.k.a. #InternationalChestDay) or any other day of the week, everyone loves a good chest day. Get ready for the best chest day of your life! We’ll be mixing in some low rep sets with some high rep killers in order to destroy your chest. Not only will this workout get you stronger, it will also give you an absolutely insane chest pump! Let’s jump into the workout below.

Make sure you get in your warm-ups before starting as a heavy bench press can lead to a lot of injuries if you don’t warm-up properly first. A few sets of pass-throughs with a band or a PVC pipe are a great way to warm up your entire shoulder joint. Some rotator cuff work with a light dumbbell or light cables may also help if your rotator cuffs cause you issues. Next, do 2 sets of 20-30 band pull-aparts or cable face pulls to help set your shoulders before benching. Before you jump on the flat bench, go ahead and warm up your triceps with 2 sets of 20-30 light tricep pushdowns using a band or a cable machine. Now you’re ready to bench! I know this seems like a lot of warming up, but the protection that it will provide your shoulders and elbows is more than worth it.

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Bench Press:

Start by doing 50 reps with the bar just to get your pecs firing and your movement pattern feeling good. This should be an easy warm-up. If it’s tough, do fewer reps! Now begin your working sets with a heavy pyramid with the rep scheme 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. As you work up in weight the sets should be difficult, but are they strength-focused so give yourself time to rest between sets! Begin lowering the weight after your set of 2, taking less time to rest and focusing on pushing yourself near failure. NOTE: Always stop 1-2 reps shy of failure if you do not have a spotter! It’s not worth the injury risk.

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What to Expect at TheFitExpo

If you’re about to attend your first fit expo, get excited! It’s a blast! Many people have some common questions before attending their first expo, so we’re here to answer them!

Planning Your Trip

First thing’s first, you have to plan your trip. If you’re from out of town, check out thefitexpo.com for a  discount on local hotels for a limited time. Before you go, be sure to check out our website to make a list of the celebrities and companies that you want to see! Also be sure to check out our schedule of events. This way you won’t miss out on what’s important to you! Again, all of this information can be found at thefitexpo.com . If you’re planning on competing in any of the competitions that are offered such as powerlifting, bodybuilding, Max Reps,etc., check our website to see how to sign up!

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Lift Weight to Lose Weight

Lifting weight to lose weight may sound crazy to you at first, and you’re not alone. To many people, common sense says that cardio is the only way to burn fat while lifting weights makes you bulky. By the end of this article, you’ll come to see that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, cardio does burn calories, but lifting weights may have even more benefits in regards to weight loss!

First, let’s dismiss a common myth. Lifting weights will not make you bulky! You won’t go to bed looking like Spongebob one day and wake up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger the next! If lifting weights really made you instantly gain weight, don’t you think that every guy in your local gym would look a lot bigger and have to work a lot less hard? Gaining muscle is a painfully slow process, and if you ever do feel “too big” it’s a pretty simple fix! Just stop lifting for a while! Stressing about accidentally getting “too big” is like stressing about accidentally winning the Olympics. It only happens with years of dedication and training, not by accident.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into fat loss. Fat loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume, creating a caloric deficit. This deficit can be made greater by decreasing the amount of calories eaten, or by increasing the amount of calories burned. This is where cardio comes into play as it is a simple way to increase the amount of calories burned. Many look to cardio as the best way to burn excess calories due to the fact that a specific time of cardio will likely burn more calories than lifting for that same amount of time would. Logically, this makes sense. In 20 mins of jogging, you’re moving constantly; whereas 20 minutes of lifting is broken up into several sets and rest periods so that actual exercise occurs during a fairly small amount of that 20-minute time span. However, the main benefits of lifting don’t actually occur during exercise!

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The Perfect Split

What is the perfect workout split? This age old debate between lifters has raged on for centuries, with no foreseeable end in sight. Truthfully, there is no “best” training split overall. However, there is absolutely a best training split for you based on your goals, previous experiences, training preferences, and schedule. I’ve broken down the most common workout splits below to help you choose the perfect training split for your goals.

Terms to Know:

  • Frequency: # of training sessions per week
  • Volume: total amount of work (sets and reps) done in each training session
  • Intensity: Amount of physical power exerted
  • Hypertrophy: Muscle Growth

 

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“The Bro Split”

No, I’m not talking about the “curl bro” split of bench, biceps, and nothing else (definitely not legs). I’m talking about a true bodybuilding style bro split, in which one trains four days per week, training different muscle groups each day. Though some argue that hitting each muscle group once per week is too little frequency, this is not necessarily the case. It’s important to remember that any rowing exercise is hitting your biceps along with your back, and bench press will work your triceps and front delts at the same time as your chest. Therefore, while each muscle group will only be isolated once per week, they will be involved many times throughout the week given proper exercise selection. For example, deadlifting on back day allows you to work your legs twice during the week while keeping the focus of that day on your back. This increased frequency will hinder recovery slightly, but with only one day of intense work per muscle group per week, recovery should not be a significant issue. The Bro Split has two main options:

  • Bro Split A:
    • Chest/Triceps
    • Back/Biceps
    • Legs
    • Shoulders
  • Bro Split B:
    • Chest/Biceps
    • Back/Triceps
    • Legs
    • Shoulders

In order to decide between these, it is important to note your weak points. If you are looking to work on your back more than your biceps, I’d recommend bro split as it allows you to train your back to exhaustion, before your biceps have been isolated that week. However, if you are trying to catch your biceps up to your back, isolating them when they are at full strength may be the most beneficial. The order of the days can be mixed up as well. If you’re struggling with your squats, you should probably hit them before you deadlift, moving leg day before back day. Your schedule can also come into play as some will train a bro split Monday-Thursday, while others will split their 4 days throughout the week. The bro split is a great choice for those chasing gains, that allows for adequate rest and personalization.

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What’s the Best Rest Time for You?

One of the most commonly debated questions between gym-goers is “what is the best amount of time to rest between sets?” You’ll often hear powerlifters saying that it takes 2-5 minutes to fully recover from a set, while bodybuilders will argue that anything over 1-2 minutes is just wasting time. Endurance athletes and those chasing extreme fat loss goals may argue for as little as 15-30 seconds of rest! With all of these conflicting ideas, it can be extremely difficult to decipher between fact and fiction. This article is here to help you sort through the broscience and figure out the best rest time for you!

So who’s right? Truthfully, all of them are right! There is no real optimal rest time for overall fitness. However, there is definitely an optimal rest time for each person depending on their current goals. Check below for more information on the optimal rest time to help you reach your goals!

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TheFitExpo’s Hardcore Leg Day Routine

If you’re one of the people who skips leg day most weeks, this workout isn’t for you. This workout is for the people who kill their leg days week in and week out, and are looking for a new challenge. This program is designed to not only challenge your muscles, but to challenge your heart, your willpower, and your mental fortitude. It is not an easy workout by any means, but the results are definitely worth it. We’ll be relying on a mix of high and low rep ranges, varying rest times, and multiple different exercises to train your legs from all angles. The reasoning behind each exercise selection is broken down below, with the complete workout routine at the end of the article.

Warm-up: Begin by foam rolling any spots that feel tight, then warm up with a few minutes on the exercise bike to get some blood pumping through your legs. 1-2 minutes of bodyweight walking lunges followed by 2-3 sets of bodyweight back extensions are very helpful to prepare for leg day. If wish to perform other additional warm-up exercises that you have found helpful in the past, do them here. Whatever you do, don’t jump straight into this workout without a warm-up. Especially on leg day, skipping your warm-up is a recipe for disaster.

Exercise #1: Front Squats

Front squats are a very effective, yet very underutilized exercise. Regular back squats may be substituted if you are uncomfortable performing front squats, but remember that the point of this workout is to get outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Give yourself a few warm-up sets before you reach your working weight, eventually working up to a weight that you can do for 4 sets of 6-8 reps. While this lower rep range won’t jack up your heart rate the way that higher rep ranges do, higher intensity resistance training leads to greater boost in EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), resulting in more calories burned throughout the day. (1) We’ll be performing these front squats before deadlifts because while it is difficult to deadlift with tired quads, it is much harder to try and squat with an already exhausted lower back.

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Top 5 Pre-Workout Ingredients

There’s a lot more to a good pre-workout supplement than just a caffeine boost! Pre-workouts can help to boost muscle protein synthesis (mps), endurance, strength, pump, energy, even help to limit muscle soreness. Listed below in no particular order, are 5 of the top pre-workout ingredients on the market. If you’re looking to take your results to the next level, read on to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your pre-workout.

  1. Beta-alanine

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Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is taken up by muscle fibers where it will combine with histidine to create carnosine. Carnosine helps to buffer metabolic waste such as lactic acid, resulting in increased endurance, strength, power, and recovery. (1) The wide variety of proven benefits offered by beta-alanine make it a top pre-workout ingredient for anyone looking to boost their performance in the gym. Optimal dosage ranges from 2-5 g. (2) Some people prefer to split up these doses due to the tingling sensation (called paresthesia) that is often caused by taking large doses of beta-alanine. Don’t worry though, this is a harmless side effect that some people actually enjoy.

  1. Citrulline Malate

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Citrulline Malate (or L-Citrulline Malate) is simply the amino acid citrulline bonded to malic acid. Citrulline is one of the premiere pump-inducing ingredients on the market. A majority of arginine consumed is broken down by the liver long before it can cause an increase in NO levels (and give you a pump). Citrulline, however, bypasses the liver and is then converted to arginine within the body, and eventually to NO. In fact, citrulline has been shown to boost blood arginine levels more than citrulline itself! (3) Though L-Citrulline can provide great pumps on its own, combining citrulline with malate also provides the ATP boosting benefits of malate which helps to generate more ATP through the Krebs cycle to give you more energy. (4) Optimal dosage for L-citrulline itself is about 1-3 grams, while doses of citrulline malate should be about 6 grams in order to provide you with a full dose of L-citrulline (5). Also, look for citrulline-malate in a 2:1 ratio, meaning that there are 2 molecules of citrulline bonded to each molecule of malate, for optimal dosing.

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